Kickoff 2014: The Marshmallow Challenge

By | Culture, Life at Daxko | No Comments

All Daxko team members recently participated in our annual Kickoff.  During this time, we celebrated our successes from 2013, looked forward to all that we’d accomplish in 2014, and had some “friendly” competition thrown in for good measure.

At the end of our second day together, we competed in teams for the coveted Family Lunch Prize Package which included choosing the menu, being first in line to eat, and then heading home for PTO post-lunch.  While my team didn’t win, I still had a great time competing in the different challenges.

A few of my favorites:

  • The Marshmallow Challenge:  Each team was given 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti, a yard of tape, a yard of floss, and a jumbo marshmallow.  Whichever team constructed the tallest tower that could stand on its own with the marshmallow on top, won.  Learn more here.
  • Skateboard & Plunger Race:  I did not bring much athletic prowess to my team in the other competitions, but I finally made them proud in this race.  Each competitor sits down on a skateboard and uses two plungers to push the skateboard across the floor.  Your feet can’t touch the floor.  Whichever team wins the relay goes home with the gold.
  • Tug of War:  A timeless classic that never gets old.

Congratulations to Team Yam for their win in this year’s games.  Enjoy your well-deserved prize.  My vote is for the taco truck when you choose family lunch!

Lisa H. is Director of Go-to-Market Strategy, and she thinks that Chex Mix and a Coke is the breakfast of champions.

Leadership Lessons from Dad

By | Culture, Free Career Advice | No Comments

At Daxko, we have a great program called Leadership Academy to help rising leaders fine-tune their skills.  Topics span the gamut from Daxko’s Leadership Philosophy to Drive by Coaching Techniques.  Last year, I graduated from Leadership Academy with my M.D. (Master of Daxko!) with lots of great tools in my leadership toolbox.  Since then, I’ve been keeping my ears open for other words of wisdom to become the best leader that I can be.  Luckily, I didn’t have to look far at all.  My now-retired dad is a fountain of sage advice from his years as an executive at a natural gas company.  Here are the top pieces of advice he’s given to me over the years in being a strong leader:

  1. Find the best people you can to have on your team, give them clear expectations, and then get the heck outta their way.  Meddling and micromanaging is a waste of everyone’s time and undermines trust.
  2. When someone asks for your opinion, give it to them.  Be direct, honest, and fair.
  3. Stay out of corporate politics, period.  Nothing good will ever come of it.
  4. The golden rule applies in business, too.  Treat everyone fairly and as you would wish to be treated.

I’m lucky to have such a wonderful mentor.  Love you, Dad!

What are some pearls of leadership wisdom that you’ve learned from others?  Please share them here in our comments section!

Lisa H. is Director of Go-to-Market Strategy, and she thinks that Chex Mix and a Coke is the breakfast of champions.

Engaging Volunteers: What you Need to Know

By | Engagement, Industry, Marketing, Organizational Health, Volunteers | No Comments

Did you know that engaged members are twice as likely to volunteer?

It makes sense that engaged nonprofit members also volunteer. And, keeping those engagement levels high not only improves volunteer retention and loyalty but it helps recruitment efforts.

According to the Center for Association Growth, some tips to recruit and retain nonprofit volunteers include:

  • Ask for feedback – A simple survey with just a few questions is enough to give you insight and improve your volunteer program over time
  • Connect volunteer efforts to the mission – Volunteers will step up when they understand how their work serves the greater cause
  • Don’t waste time – Volunteers quickly become disenchanted with a program when they are not given enough to do
  • Recognize volunteers – Encouragement can be given at many levels of the organization. For example, a nonprofit can allow other volunteers, immediate supervisors, and higher ups to recognize outstanding volunteer perfermance
  • Leverage unique talents – if you have volunteers that are constantly on their personal Twitter feed, consider training them to work on social media for your nonprofit

3 Ways to Engage Donors

By | Engagement, Fundraising, Industry | No Comments

Did you know that engaged members are 3x more likely to give?

According to a study by NTEN and Charity Dynamics, nearly half of donors give a majority of their annual total donation to the charity to which they feel most connected. While these supporters may donate to multiple charities, they are likely to become engaged with a single organization.

How can you best engage your members, donors, and community to keep your cause top-of-mind? Some tips to increase engagement and increase giving:

  1. Think like a donor. According to Harvey McKinnon’s book, The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks and the Answers All Donors Crave, thinking like a donor is key to understanding roadblocks to engagement and giving. Donors wonder, “Why me?” Donors want and need to know that they are important for reasons other than their checkbook. Interacting with them outside of solicitations is important. For more ways to think like a donor see our Industry Blog Post on the subject.
  2. Ensure their first engagement happens quickly, preferably within 24 hours. Daxko membership and engagement consultant, Lori Swann believes that engaging members and donors quickly should be the first priority at every non-profit. In addition, Daxko fundraising expert, Sarah Kleban states, “Taking the time to thank each donor with a personal call is a special way to recognize donors and make them feel like they are valued.” The same theory applies to members. Member-based non-profits should reach out to new members quickly, even if it’s just to thank them for becoming a member and ask them if they have any initial questions. It’s a great way to set the stage for a long-term relationship.
  3. Tell stories. Success stories not only provide living proof of donations in action, but they also inspire members and donors with stories of real people. Share these stories on your website, through social media or even through local news outlets. A great example of nonprofit storytelling is provided by, Michelle Amaral, PhD, who spearheaded a campaign to reunite pets lost in the devastating Alabama tornadoes in April 2011. Through a simple Facebook page, countless animals were returned to their owners and the page garnered more than 35,000 “likes” on Facebook through stories of animals being reunited with their owners.